normal?

I’m guessing that motherhood is full of worries even if you didn’t do all the infertility “stuff” I did. You are responsible for this being in a way that is hard to imagine. You are a mom. There’s a lot of responsibility in that.

I belong to that giant group of moms in the world. At the same time, I still feel as though I’m tiptoeing around the edge.

I go to playgroups and other mom/baby activities. The women there don’t know my story. And I don’t want my introduction to baby swimming to be, “This is my daughter BabyHope, conceived after 5 IVF transfers.”

But then sometimes “things” come up. People always comment on BabyHope’s size – just how “petite” she is. Last week someone asked if maybe I’d exercised too much or not eaten enough during my pregnancy. I think I answered the question without too much defensiveness. I said something like, “Oh, she had an umbilical cord problem and wasn’t getting enough food.” I think I also said that I only walked – no “exercise” here.

There was a part of me that wanted to scream. That wanted to tell her that, no, I’d done everything, everything, everything imaginable to will BabyHope to life. That there was no way she could possibly imagine how much I’d been through or how many scars still linger beneath the surface.

BabyHope is here. You think I could let go. But those wounds, those fears – they run so deep. I often wonder if I’ll ever be a “normal” mom.

How do you really get to the “other” side?

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~ by Larisa on October 1, 2008.

No Responses Yet to “normal?”

  1. Unfortunately, I’m not sure there is another side for some of us. I don’t ever see those thoughts going away completely. I am sure with time, the scars will fade, but infertility, 5 IVF’s, the birth of our children — those experiences made us who we are today. And we can’t hide from that.

  2. I heard that comment and it made me want to defend you. It is just one of those unfortunate reaffirmations that those who haven’t experienced IF are completely unaware of the impact of their words. You handled the situation quite gracefully in my opinion. 🙂

  3. Some people just ask stupid questions!!
    Both our kids were barely on the chart for height and weight. Lincoln at his last appointment was below 5% for weight and 10% for height, he is 2 1/5 and can still wear 18-24 month shorts and pants. And my kids didn’t have umbilical cord problems. When people comment on my kids and their petiteness, I just yes yup…they are petite. But I still feel like I need to justify why they are small. Yes, I feed them, yes I give them whole milk. In fact our doctor told us we could feed the kids whatever they wanted as far as junk food went, because they don’t have weight problems….I looked at him all crazy like and said….um no.
    Sorry this is so long, you are in good company, BabyHope is perfect in every way, just so beautiful, happy and most of all loved!!
    I’m sorry I tend to ramble.

  4. My son, Christian did not have any of the complications BabyHope had. However, he is in the 10% for weight and 15% for height. His shorts this summer were 6-9 months. People tend to comment on his size ALL the time. Children come in all shapes, colors and sizes. It’s what makes the world go round. My response to anyone making a comment, “Good things come in small packages–and I think I got the BEST!!! He is my pride, joy, love and my heart all wrapped up in a little gift!!!” I know BabyHope is the same to you. All that matters is she is healthy (which she is), she is happy, (which she is), she is loved, (which she is). Let them talk. You and Mr. Hope have a wonderful “little” gift which you value and appreciate everyday. You know your story, you know the scars and you know ALL that you did for that gorgeous little girl to be here and be loved.

  5. I don’t think IF moms fit in with “regular” moms. There are two older moms in my department — their miracles are in college now, and still those moms mention the trauma of infertility and it’s been long ago for them. We have a different connection to our children than other people, I think.

    People say stupid shit all the time. Too bad it’s unacceptable to kick them in the teeth.

  6. I don’t think the scars ever go away either. I know I have offended other moms by saying that I think I worry more. I think IF moms do. I don’t think that non-IF moms are still checking to see if their kids are breathing at 5.5 months like I do. I actually think I am a better mom because of everything I went through. I often feel out of place, I am not a regular mom.

    I got the size comments all the time when he was a newborn. I can’t tell you how many people asked if he was a premie. I would just tell them he was 3 days late and walk on.

  7. I totally understand what you mean. My daughter is 2 1/2 years old and we miscarried our 2nd baby two years ago. IF has been such a hard, hard road for so many of us. I still cringe a bit inside when the moms at playgroup talk of how easily they got pregnant or how they “aren’t done and plan to have more”. I want to scream, “GOD WILLING you will!” And most of these women know my story and still don’t get it. I doubt they ever will, which would be a nice place to be, huh?

  8. Seriously – that was a pretty inappropriate question. And honestly, I think you’ll always feel that way to some extent. You survived a grueling medical battle – you’re a survivor. Time will make it more distant and easier to deal with, but it will always be a part of you.

    And that’s OK. We like you – just the way you are.

  9. People are stupid. They just don’t think. I’ve had different people ask me why I am just having a baby now after being married for over 8 years. Gee, let’s see. We had actually been trying for over 7years, battled infertility, diagnosed with a kidney disease, had a kidney transplant, more infertility before numerous IUIs. People that get pregnant immediately just don’t understand what we’ve been through. But it makes our children more special because of everything we did in our power to get them here. And its no one’s business why BabyHope seems smaller. She’ll catch up and kick their kids butt one day. 🙂

  10. THe question was incredibly rude, fertility history aside.

    I’m afraid there is no getting to the other side, because there will always be stories about “how I got knocked up without trying” and “am thinking about #3, but maybe I’ll wait another couple of months”, to which you will always either have to declare your personal situation or hide it. I go back and forth.

    I hope you can find a group of moms who focus on what being a mother means now, and not what it took to become a mother and whether you’ve ‘messed up’ even before the birth.

  11. I’m sorry there are so many insensitive idiots out there. I think you handled that inappropiate question quite well. Personally I feel even after you have a baby, infertility finds a way to creep back into your life somehow and comments like those still hurt those wounds we develop from infertility.

  12. What an aggressive way to phrase that remark to you. Just awful.

    I feel scarred for life too.

    People have asked me on occasion if I have ‘plans’ for a second child. Hah!
    I have plans for more treatment, which is not the same thing. And I don’t feel like telling that to just anyone, so I give an evasive answer.

  13. You obviously handled the situation with grace 🙂
    Going to the “other side” does not mean that you will forget your journey. It does not mean that you do not habor gratitude.
    I may mean giving ALL of yourself to motherhood – letting go of fear, being right here, right now, and living in the moment.

  14. I still feel lost in a room full of moms. When I use the “mother’s room” at work to pump, I feel like someone’s going to stop me from going in saying “Ahem…this is for you, know, MOMS!”

    And yeah, a very insensitive comment about BabyHope’s size. I get the “Are they natural?” comment all the time with twins. Um, opposite is unnatural right?

  15. I think that your BabyHope is absolutely perfect in every way -I always believe that her picture belongs to Met museum – she is such an elf, fairy tale girl – and I hope that you would get used to your happines.. From another point of view, may be IF has not such a bad side effect – by reminding us every moment that we got blessed…I’m ending the tww after a fresh cycle and have a beta scheduled for today.

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